Friday, 30 August 2019 23:10

When you give a presentation, do you stick to a script or do you react in the moment?

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It depends.

It depends on the type of presentation you’re delivering and the purpose of the presentation.

For example, if you’re delivering a canned sales pitch, that is one where you have a prewritten script with the expectation you follow it word for word, and questions arose, you may want to defer to the end of your presentation to answer those questions.

Similarly, if you’re delivering a presentation that contained a lot of data or information, you may want to deliver your presentation without any interruptions.

Conversely, if you were delivering an educational style of presentation where you wanted your audience to keep up with you, you may welcome and answer questions before moving on to new content.

As a presenter, I utilize both techniques i.e. I may answer questions on the spot or I may defer them to later time. As you become more comfortable in presenting it becomes easier to answer questions on the fly. The challenge is in deciding whether to answer the question if said question adds to an understanding of the content you’re delivering at this point in time or determining if it could it take you off in a different direction you don’t want to go?

One technique that helps deal with questions that are off-topic is to use a parking lot. The parking lot could be section of the whiteboard or perhaps a flipchart. The idea is that questions that are off-topic rather than ignoring them, they are added to the parking lot and then at the end of your session you should deal with them at that time.

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